One of the standout things about Wellington is that just about every single architectural style is represented. From Victorian cottages to modernist marvels, each building you’ll come across has its own uniqueness and character. To give you an idea, here are some of the most impressive constructions in the New Zealand capital.
The former Bank of New Zealand building, known today as the Old Bank Arcade, was built in 1901 by Thomas Turnbull. It is located in Lambton Quay and is as much renowned for being one of the city’s oldest landmarks as it is known for hiding a special secret – the Plimmers Ark. An incredible amount of work went into restoring and maintaining this glorious Wellington landmark. Nowadays, the Old Bank Arcade is the place to visit to get some retail therapy under your belt and for admiring the city’s most exquisite mechanical clock.
This inner-city cathedral was built by the Anglican Church around 1865-66, on the site of a former Maori settlement. Native timbers, stained glass windows and soaring arches make the Old Saint Paul’s a remarkable landmark from the inside and out. Along with being an incredible showcase of the Gothic Revival architecture, this church is also recognised for withstanding the threat of demolition and upon restoration, becoming a New Zealand heritage building in its own right.
Also known as Old Government Buildings, the Government Buildings Historic Reserve was constructed in 1876. At the time, it was one of the largest and most majestic in the country. Like many colonial buildings, this outstanding heritage site was inspired by Italian stone palaces, despite the fact it was made entirely of wood (stone was deemed ‘too extravagant’ at the time). The site received major refurbishments in the mid-1990s, and most of it is now leased to the Victoria University of School of Law. The ground floor and first-floor Cabinet rooms are still open for public viewing and guided tours of the grounds run every weekend.
Antrim House was the home Robert Hannah, a prominent businessman who founded R Hannah & Co – a footwear retailer better known today as Hannah’s. The house was named after the county in which Hannah was born, and was home to his family until his death in 1930. The Italianate style house has gone through a few different phases since then: it became a private hotel and a public service hostel before it was donated to Heritage New Zealand. These days, the public can still marvel at this lovely building’s well-preserved foundations and manicured lawns.
The Nairn Street Cottage is Wellington’s oldest of its kind. It was the home of the Wallis family for three generations before being transformed into a museum. Present-day visitors can enter the cottage’s doors with full confidence they are going to learn everything there is to know about life from 1830 until 1970. Extensive research was conducted to ensure all generations were accounted for – even the back garden has been dutifully preserved to document life in the Victorian age.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.